The first official single from Disclosure's sophomore album, this features the smooth baritone vocal stylings of jazz singer Gregory Porter. The Brooklyn-based singer's LP Liquid Spirit won the 2014 Grammy for best jazz vocal album.
Disclosure's Howard Lawrence told NME how they hooked up with Porter. "I listen relentlessly to Jazz FM and other jazz-based radio stations, so he's always on in my car. I've been a fan for ages, so I asked my management if we could reach out to him and he said he wanted to meet us," he explained. "We ended up getting on really well and making 'Holding On' together."
The song was originally written by Howard Lawrence, Porter, and long-time Lawrence brothers' collaborator Jimmy Napes as a low-key ballad for the piano, which the Lawrence brothers then re-worked. Howard Lawrence explained: "Ninety per cent of all those song-based '90s garage and house classics are remixes of old soul and jazz tracks and we thought, 'Well, we don't want to remix a song that's been remixed a thousand times.'"
"So instead we tried to write something that sounded like an old soul track, which Guy and me then took away and reworked into our own style. We kind of cut out the middle man – we were the original and the remix!"
The song's music video was shot in Mexico City and follows a woman who joins a group of people revolting against their totalitarian rulers. The clip is the first of a four-part anthology directed by Ryan Hope (Sam Smith's "Lay Me Down
") showcasing a dystopian world. Disclosure explained: "We wanted to create something very different with our music videos this time around... something unique that would connect all the songs from the album and the videos in a special way."
"This is the first of a series of four amazing videos directed by Ryan Hope that come together to create a short film… 'CARACAL'. As each music video comes out... The plot unfolds."
The Lawrence brothers tried a new approach when penning this song: banning Guy from the studio. Howard explained to The Sun: "We had this idea that we could write a soul song. So Jimmy (Napes) and me got into the studio with Gregory, and Guy wasn't allowed to come."
"We wrote the song around the piano, but had completely different chords, were in a different key, but the same melodies and lyrics."
"It sounded so different and then we took the vocal and me and Guy reworked it and produced it into a Disclosure song in a different key and different chords and at a completely different speed."
"We sent it back to Gregory who said he loved it. So basically we had to write the song twice."
Gregory Porter enjoyed collaborating with the Lawrence brothers and Jimmy Napes as they wrote the music together as a team. He recalled to The Sun: "Working with them was a cool experience. They didn't just say, 'Just sing some oohs and ahs into the microphone and we are going to take it and flip it around.'"
"We sat down at a piano with Howard and Jimmy Napes, we wrote a song essentially about the irresistibly about love," Porter added. "To do it as a dance track was great. I was glad to do it and it did get my music into some ears that wouldn't usually hear me, the jazz singer."
Gregory Porter recorded a mellow and jazzy interpretation of the track for his 2016 Take Me To The Alley album. "I decided to do the song the way that I would have recorded it on my record," Porter said. "It's a way of saying that a song is a song is a song. The lyrics and the intention of the song come through no matter what kind of bells and whistles are going on."